Bob Corker: “Bust the UAW Already, Obama!!!”

Bob Corker was one of the people in Congress who refused to include auto dealer concessions to GM and Chrysler in restructuring negotiations last year. As such, he–and his cowardice–bears significant responsibility for neglecting one third of the concessions that needed to be made from automaker stakeholders; the Obama Administration has, for the first time, addressed dealer concessions in today’s announcement.

In addition, Corker’s purportedly brilliant bailout compromise last year (which amounted to "bust the UAW") included none of the bankruptcy-like legal authority to cramdown bond-holder debt. Partly as a result (and partly because of a sweetheart deal Corker’s buddies at Cerberus got), GM had no leverage to convince bond-holders to take the haircut they need to on its debt.

Nevertheless, Corker wasted no time in bitching about Obama’s announcement today.

“Firing Rick Wagoner is a sideshow to distract us from the fact that the administration has no progress to announce today,” said Corker, a Republican. “The administration is hoping the media and the public will stay focused on Wagoner and fail to notice that negotiations have not progressed since December.”


“The administration is pursuing much of what we pushed for in December, but the delay of several months has increased the severity and sent billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain,” Corker said. “Now any investment is likely unrecoverable.”

Corker, you see, is hoping everyone will stay focused on his showboating, and not notice that Corker left several key elements off the table last year out of political expediency. Corker’s also hoping you ignore that Bush basically used Corker’s plan when he pushed through the Christmas Eve bailout–so if this plan has failed, it is Corker’s plan that failed. 

I guess Corker, who just a few weeks ago, was attacking draconian laws directed at just one class of people…

People out around this country, that have a right to be outraged, should also understand that if we do draconian things through laws, where we pass laws just to target a very few people, that they could be the very next person. 

…is sad that he wasn’t able to pass a draconian law that targeted a very few union workers. I guess Bob Corker is just impatient for someone to bust the UAW.

Though not impatient enough to recognize that the Administration’s criticism of GM’s focus on SUV’s and crossovers may jeopardize the new Traverse assembly in his state.

With the White House taking a harder line with automakers and insisting on more aggressive restructuring plans, Corker also predicted that members of Congress will begin “kowtowing … to curry favor with the administration” to keep auto plants in their states open. “It will be interesting to see if the administration makes these decisions based on a red state and blue state strategy or based on efficiency and capable, skilled workers at each plant.”

He noted: “If they use the latter, our GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee should do very well.”

Funny. Some guy named Bob Corker insisted that American manufacturers couldn’t be efficient last November. Is this the same Bob Corker?

69 replies
  1. klynn says:

    “Firing Rick Wagoner is a sideshow to distract us from the fact that the administration has no progress to announce today,” said Corker, a Republican. “The administration is hoping the media and the public will stay focused on Wagoner and fail to notice that negotiations have not progressed since December.”

    This, from a GOP party leader, a party that cannot produce a budget with numbers.

    Hmmm…I would say he’s probably an expert on sideshows.

  2. bmaz says:

    I am curious, since Bullet Brain Bob Corker is so concerned about how this is going to work out, and is concerned that taxes should be broad based and not specific, will he be behind a substantial gas tax to get the price of gas up near $3.50 tp $4.00 a gallon so that people will actually buy all these small efficient cars that the government is forcing the companies to make?

    Same question goes out to Obama.

  3. Teddy Partridge says:

    Corker: Knows a sideshow when he sees one.

    I wasn’t wild to elect Harold Ford, but jeez he couldn’t have won just to keep this lunatic out of our hair?

  4. oldtree says:

    How did the senate get the power to vote themselves immune from RICO statutes? Who approved of their extra legal authority to accept bribes, and take actions that are clearly the result of bribery?
    Did the house and the executive vote for this otherwise abuse of law?

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    I hope Obama does not try for a gas tax increase of that magnitude. If he does, Ohio will vote out any politician who voted in favor. And replace them with the most rabidly antitax republicans the GOP can find.

    Ohio isn’t the only place that would do that. This could really hurt anything resembling a progressive agenda.

    As long as they don’t bump the tax above what the roads need, I think Ohio will go along.

    Boxturtle (Corker is pandering to the cavemen who elect him)

    • bmaz says:

      Fine, then Obama has to stop forcing American automotive manufacturing into vehicle lines that Americans won’t freaking buy.

      • Cujo359 says:

        This is the crux of the problem, isn’t it? The main reason that Detroit haven’t been too eager to build these cars is that very few people want to buy them. If you don’t believe that, look at Toyota’s and Nissan’s cars. Nearly all of the models that they’ve continued over the last fifteen years or so have grown larger. Big cars are preferable here, at least partly because we spend so damn much time in them.

  6. plunger says:

    For those who have yet to view it, Big Dan has posted the movie: Who Killed The Electric Car?

    Required viewing.

    As if you didn’t know the answer…big oil, which bought-off the executives at GM, the best technologies (for the purpose of shelving them) and the essential politicians, killed the electric car. But if you’re looking for a single name, likely to have said “get them all back and crush them,” I’d start with David Rockefeller.

    GM’s EV-1 was gaining popularity in California – but GM wouldn’t allow anyone to buy them outright, only lease them. Once the leases were up, they gathered up every last one, and crushed it.

    EVERY American needs to watch this movie.

    • bmaz says:

      You clearly have never driven an EV-1. I have. It was one of the biggest pieces of automotive shit I have ever experienced. The EV-1 was no loss whatsoever, it should never have been released to the public; however, slowing down the program behind it was a mistake.

        • PJEvans says:

          Perhaps they’ve forgotten that, at the time, GM was only leasing them, and only to people who met their minimum income requirements – which said basically that you needed a six-figure income to qualify. (I don’t recall ever even seeing one outside of a few ads.)

    • ferrarimanf355 says:

      It never fails. Whenever we try to have a civil discussion about GM, that crockumentary comes up. Godwin’s Law should have an amendment covering the EV1’s inevetable coming up in a GM discussion. And there should be a permenant moratorium on bringing up that crockumentary.

  7. bmaz says:

    You apparently don’t even read the very crap you cite as support. The wiki is rife with problem areas and a description of the entire fleet recall. I talked to a lot of people in the auto business and automotive journalism business around the time I got to drive one for part of an afternoon. They all agreed for the most part with exactly my conclusion. It was a great idea; it was a horrid car.

    • MidnightWalker says:

      bmaz: YOU are missing the point, not plunger!

      I don’t know if you’re missing it on purpose or not, but the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” is about how BIG OIL crushed and up and coming idea and bought off people. You seem like a smart person, so I think you’re missing the point on purpose.

      Another point is: You say that electric car in the movie was crap, you had one. Well, that’s not what the movies says. And also, American car companies are going under so I guess they’ve been making NON-ELECTRIC PIECES OF CRAP for decades.

      Would you agree???

      • brandane says:

        It would be interesting to know what kind of car you drive, if you are even familiar with the products coming out of the american auto companies or are you dealing with the old urban legend bullshit the msm has been pushing for years. You are no different than Corker, Sessions or those other southern senators protecting their car companies in their states and furthering the “Free Trade” bullshit coming out of washington for the past three decades. It may interest you to know that the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid will go 700 miles on a tank of gas and achieve 41 miles per gallon in the city. A feat that neither Honda or Toyota can achieve with a smaller car. The only objection I have with this car is that it is manufactured in Mexico. Just more of the Free Tade bullshit, of course the price of the car did not decrease any.

  8. runfastandwin says:

    Here’s the thing, if it’s the UAW at fault, why is Ford not in trouble? They have the same contracts…

    • MrWhy says:

      don’t confuse us with facts

      Just because Ford doesn’t need concessions doesn’t mean GM and Chrysler don’t need them.

  9. Cujo359 says:

    [Corker is] sad that he wasn’t able to pass a draconian law that targeted a very few union workers.

    Well, it’s only class warfare when the rich are the ones who might lose something. Many things follow rhetorically from that bit of insight, including Corker’s selective definition of “draconian”.

  10. skdadl says:

    Please forgive the OT: George Galloway failed to get an injunction from our Federal Court against a highly suspect Border Services “preliminary assessment” (something we’re not sure anyone has ever heard of before), so tonight and for the next several nights, Galloway will be addressing Canadian audiences via video links from NYC.

    There is a judicial review to be done of this strange story, and we sort of knew that the injunction was unlikely in advance of that review, but still.

    One benefit: our neocon immigration minister looks even sillier than usual (which is going some), and public interest in what Galloway will have to say is much piqued.

    • SouthernDragon says:

      Galloway, with his Gaza convoy, tweaked the nose of the Israeli govt. That’s a no-no anywhere in North America. Fuck the Israeli govt.

      • skdadl says:

        The thing is, it isn’t a no-no anywhere in North America. The Israelis let George into Gaza; and you guys let him in to the U.S. We are alone as the laughing-stock.

        Leen @ 23, George isn’t a terrist in the courts here. It is silly government ministers hiding behind the bureaucracy who have tagged him so. I think they will get their hands slapped eventually, but it takes the courts a while to do that.

  11. Leen says:

    I had no idea Galloway was a “terrorist” in the Canadian courts.

    That man is one of my heroes. Thanks for the ot

  12. TomWells says:

    Thanks, empty wheel, for sticking up for the working woman and man in America. Corker is a pig, plain and simple.

    It’s a class war, and President Obama is an accomdationist to wall Street and the other side. Only through worker self determiantion can we build a movement for real change, not rhetorical “hope and change,” but fundamental justice.

  13. jackie says:

    Sorry OT, but don’t if this has been noted

    Century Bancorp-CNBKA co-CEO to take temporary leave of absence
    ‘Century Bancorp announced that co-president and co-CEO Jonathan G. Sloane has elected effective to take a temporary leave of absence to address personal issues which are not related to the company or Century Bank. Barry R. Sloane, currently co-president and co-CEO, will assume all duties associated with these roles during the interim period. Marshall M. Sloane will continue in his role as chairman.’…..Aid1065531

      • nahant says:

        And as always she is spot on subject! You bet this is a double standard being used on the Car companies. If it wasn’t why haven’t we seen all the CEOs of WallStreet replaced?? They are the ones who got us and the Car compaines into this mess. If they hadn’t fucked up the finance world GM and the rest would not be having as many problems as they are having. You can’t sell cars if the buyers can’t get credit!! Plain and simple!

        • eCAHNomics says:

          Of course it’s a double standard. No accountability for finance corps., only for autos. It’s much bigger than just firing the execs.

          Have you noticed that Obama is a better lier than W, because he is more articulate.

  14. nahant says:

    Oh yeah! BO is smooth almost too smooth! From the very beginning in 07 I have felt that. There is just something, I don’t know quit what it was but my gut feeling has never changed.

  15. eCAHNomics says:

    BTW, the friends I went to dinner with on Saturday just bought a Saturn in mid-Feb. Said he thought he was a little nuts to buy a car from a company that was going bankrupt.

  16. eCAHNomics says:

    Goolsbee’s on TNH doing a terrible job of explaining the GM move. For example, Waggoner had to go because they need new ideas, but when it was pointed out that the heir apparent has been there forever, Goolsbee said he has experience in the auto industry. Would laugh if it weren’t tragic.

  17. Taunter says:

    Corker may be a blowhard, but it is only his insistence on conditions in the first place that prevented this from being a financial-style bailout.

    The dealer adjustments are essential, but they are also extraordinarily difficult outside of bankruptcy – every contract is different, and each guy is small enough that he assumes he can hang tough and let others make the concessions.

    That’s one of the major reasons – dropping the pensions being the other – that an actual trip to bankruptcy is necessary. The bondholders are $27bn of obstinate, but wiping them out wouldn’t change the magnitude of GM’s problems.

  18. DrDick says:

    Unfortunately, it would appear that Obama is incorporating Corker’s bust the UAW plan as well. I am really upset over what I am hearing, which relies heavily on breaking labor contracts with the UAW, at the same time that employment contracts at AIG and other financial companies are sacrosanct. This is NOT change I can believe in.

    • SouthernDragon says:

      I guess we can expect the spin to start tomorrow at the WH presser. Gibbs will tell us how different the banks are from the auto industry and give us the rationaliztions of why union workers have to give up their contracts and pension plans. Wagonwheelhead won’t have to give up his $20M retirement package though. Then we’ll get the round-the-mulberry-bush statement from Geithner on Wednesday. What a crock.

  19. JClausen says:

    Slightly OT, Please excuse.

    Just wanted to let the community know that Bmaz’s post on Torture has reached 947 DIGGS. If you haven’t already done so please consider the impact of this many DIGGS for all of the firepups and wheelers.

  20. Praedor says:

    Obama is really dicking this up badly. Gibbs today had trouble (understandably) explaining the obvious double standard of firing automotive CEOs who screw the pooch but coddling finance CEOs who screwed the pooch in astronomically worse ways (tanking the entire world economy).

    Obama must not add insult to injury by screwing the UAW here. In fact, he must now push the EFCA hard rather than murder a union. If he dicks the UAW both he and the democrats are toast as far as labor is concerned.

    This whole thing was a serious miscalculation. He CANNOT continue to kiss banker ass while dicking automotive workers and firing an automotive CEO. Can’t can’t can’t. I believe that if he doesn’t square this thing away soon, his numbers are going to seriously tank and the Congress will feel totally free to ignore him. He has one-termer written all over himself right now.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Obama thinks he doesn’t need to do anything for labor because they have nowhere else to go.

  21. Praedor says:

    Let’s see:

    Contracts for automotive workers aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, but contracts for criminal bonuses are sacrosanct and inviolate.

    CEOs for automotive companies that screw up are fired but CEOs for banks and firms that totally destroyed the world economy, devastated retirement accounts, get special treatment are simply too important to do anything but let skate.

    The entire Obama Admin is lousy with criminal banking and Wall Street insiders. Rahm is a Wall Street criminal who believes Wall Street IS the economy. The entire economic team are Goldman Sachs cronies.

    At this point, allowing the bankers to continue stealing taxpayer money without strings or punitive firings and clawbacks is an impeachable offense as far as I’m concerned.

    Obama the single termer. Nice job.

  22. Bluetoe2 says:

    Looks like Obama is trying his best to finish the work of destroying what’s left of the union movement that Reagan started.

  23. Bluetoe2 says:

    Expect Obama will announce his opposition to EFCA in the near future. Will argue that it puts the U.S. at a disadvantage in todays global economy.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      But will add that his heart is with all those workers who are really hurting, and their families, and their communities.

  24. scott587 says:

    GM new car lots are loaded with small cars while the big SUV’s and trucks are almost all gone. Everybody knows to get ‘em now ’cause once the “restructuring” is finished we’ll all be driving motorized roller skates with the option of a canopy.

  25. BargainCountertenor says:

    Funny. Some guy named Bob Corker insisted that American manufacturers couldn’t be efficient last November. Is this the same Bob Corker?

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    I think Emerson characterized Bob Corker 160 years in advance. Maybe there is a Time Machine…

  26. vincetastic says:

    This is a wonderful post emptywheel. I think Barack is doing a pretty decent job and has taken many steps to show that he is serious about eliciting change in the Executive Office. I think that there are still a lot of challenges, and you can expect that it will not always be easy and that he ill have to make many tough and unpopular decisions. People might enjoy this list of the top ten signs the president’s gig is harder than you thought:…..ou+thought

    • Leen says:

      I just do not understand who he has in there challenging his/Wall street’s view on the economy and what should be done about it. Everyone is noticing the contradictory approach being taken with the Auto industry vs. Wall Street. Why not bring someone like Paul Krugman or Joseph Stigletz into the fold so that he can hear their objections from their own mouths? I thought Obama was into opposing views?

      If GM or a few other auto makers go down they will pave the way for Obama to go down in 2012.

  27. bmaz says:

    No, I most certainly do not agree. First off, you, like the Plunger, are out to spread your own personal conspiracy theory and don’t really know squat about what you blather about. For starters, if you had really read my comments on this subject instead of coming here to spew, you would know that I drove one for part of an afternoon, not that I “had” one. Secondly, nobody “had one” they were all on a lease program. Thirdly, that is exactly my point, that bogus documentary is totally full of shit. It is quite accurate to call it a “crockumentary”. Lastly, American car manufacturers have been making increasingly good products over the most recent period of time and they are actually pretty high quality these days.

    So, no, I do not agree with you at all and do not bite on the conspiracy tripe.

  28. MidnightWalker says:

    bmaz: So there were 300,000,000+ people in the U.S., they made about 1,000 of them limited to certain people, and you drove one. I find that hard to believe.

    Let’s recap: bmaz happens to be on firedoglake in a post NOT about the electric car, a commenter comments about the electric car, bmaz happens to see this comment, and he happens to be one of about 1,000 people who drove one out of 300,000,000 Americans over a decade ago.

    I find that hard to believe. You want to talk about a conspiracy theory? THAT’S ONE!!!!!!!!!

  29. MidnightWalker says:

    No, just common sense, odds, and math. I don’t believe you drove in an EV1 electric car 10+ years ago. I just hate shills and liars.

    • bmaz says:

      Nevertheless it is true, which pretty much demonstrates your level of math and reasoning skills. Now mind your manners or don’t bother to ever come back here.

  30. MidnightWalker says:

    bmaz, I would believe you drove in an EV-1, if you gave us some detail of it. Why don’t you tell us in detail, more about the EV-1 electric car you drove in? Anyone can say they drove in one. On the internet, anyone can say anything. Provide us some detail. Especially of how it sucked. Because everyone in the movie “Who killed the electric car” LOVED IT, including Tom Hanks.

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